Convocation Opens Academic Year

First-year students (above) assembled in Riverside Church, where President Beilock (below) welcomed them to Barnard and the 2019 academic year. 

The Barnard community marked the start of the academic year with its annual Convocation, on September 10, 2019, filling the pews of the historic Riverside Church. Among the hundreds of students, faculty, and staff present were 80 alumnae dressed in academic robes and carrying class flags, who processed into the sanctuary to the cheers of those assembled.

The audience heard from a variety of speakers, including Board of Trustees Chair Cheryl Milstein ’82, P’14, and Denise M. Augustin P’07, P’15, who gave the staff welcome. President Sian Leah Beilock discussed the College’s new wellness initiative, “Feel Well, Do Well @ Barnard,” which is built around the idea that all members of the campus community are responsible for the health and wellness of our students.

Interior church with students and faculty and staff members

Keynote speaker Sheila Nevins ’60, the current head of MTV Studios’ documentary films division and the former president of HBO Documentary Films and Family Programming, told participants how a discriminatory experience during college, at a nearby Chock full o’Nuts coffee shop, propelled her “to champion stories about the less fortunate. Stories of real people,” she said. “Mostly I chose to tell stories of the struggle to triumph in an uncertain and often cruel world.” 

Provost and Dean of the Faculty Linda Bell reminded students of Barnard’s mission: “To instill in you an inner strength and a natural generosity so that when you step beyond our gates, you can both pursue what inspires you and share it to good measure with the world.”

— Photos by Samuel Stuart Hollenshead and Asiya Khaki ’09

Latest IssueSpring 2023